A benefit to vegetation : a closer networks with little space between plants (Science Daily)

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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130830131158.htm

How Vegetation Competes for Rainfall in Dry Regions

Aug. 30, 2013 — The greater the plant density in a given area, the greater the amount of rainwater that seeps into the ground. This is due to a higher presence of dense roots and organic matter in the soil. Since water is a limited resource in many dry ecosystems, such as semi-arid environments and semi-deserts, there is a benefit to vegetation to adapt by forming closer networks with little space between plants.

Hence, vegetation in semi-arid environments (or regions with low rainfall) self-organizes into patterns or “bands.” The pattern formation occurs where stripes of vegetation run parallel to the contours of a hill, and are interlaid with stripes of bare ground. Banded vegetation is common where there is low rainfall. In a paper published last month in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, author Jonathan A. Sherratt uses a mathematical model to determine the levels of precipitation within which such pattern formation occurs.

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About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
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